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David Humphreys swoops for Ulsterman Paddy McAllister

By Michael Sadlier

Prop Paddy McAllister has become the latest Ulsterman to pitch up at Gloucester with the announcement that the 25-year-old will be quitting France to join the squad Director of Rugby David Humphreys is building at Kingsholm for next season.

McAllister is currently with Aurillac in France's Pro D2 league and has been with the side coached by another Ulster exile, Jeremy Davidson, since leaving Belfast at the end of last season.

He will not only be working under fellow Ulsterman Humphreys but will also be coached by Jonny Bell, whose signing as defence coach was announced on Tuesday, while McAllister will also be familiar with John Afoa, who he greatly admired during the Kiwi's time in Belfast.

A versatile and ball-carrying prop, McAllister had been earmarked to achieve great things at Ulster after breaking through to the senior side in 2010 but was struck down by a serious knee injury in summer 2012 which sidelined him for a significant period and he then struggled to get back after shipping further problems along the way.

The former Ireland U20 player, who played his club rugby with Ballynahinch, is one of three front row signings announced yesterday by the English Premiership side.

Along with McAllister - who can play on both sides of the scrum - the West Country club are bringing in Paul Doran-Jones from Harlequins - a former Gloucester player - and Nicky Thomas from the Ospreys.

Talking about the need to have strength in depth across his squad, Humphreys made the point that all three players come to Kingsholm with plenty to offer but, more importantly, with something to prove.

"All three will bring something different," he said. "Paul is primarily a tight-head who can cover the other side of the scrum, Paddy is a loose-head who has turned out at tight-head, and Nicky is a tight-head who is highly thought of.

"Paul played his best rugby here and will look to recapture that, Paddy is getting back to his best after injury and Nicky is looking to get an opportunity at senior level."

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